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Josh Simpson

In 1970, when Josh Simpson was a ceramics student at Hamilton College in upstate New York, the discovery of some intriguing glass fragments in a studio influenced him to shift his attention to glass. Knowing nothing about the medium, he resolved to teach himself, a solution very much in the spirit of the time. Simpson’s subsequent journey to the Vermont woods, where he survived the cold winters in a hand-sewn teepee and learned to blow glass in a primitive, hand-built studio, sound almost mythic today, but this type of independent, self-reliant and self-isolating behavior was central to the ethos of the 1960’s artist-craftsperson. Simpson’s earliest pieces were lumpy vessels of organic, somewhat expressionistic form, reflecting the level of his glass-making abilities as well as the prevailing taste of the late sixties and early seventies, which owed to the curving forms of Art Nouveau. He made his own iridescent vessels in the style of Louis Comfort Tiffany, developing his own formulas and mastering new forms, but soon abandoned this direction, feeling that he didn’t want to reproduce what had already been done so well.

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